In praise of the Unitasker (with apologies to Alton Brown)

No, I didn’t goof and put a Knives, Fire and Fun entry under bloodymurderbooks. I firmly feel that you can’t talk about unitaskers without talking about Mr. Brown. If you’ve ever seen Good Eats, you’ve heard him say that the only unitasker permitted in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher.

For the past number of years, it seems that people’s attention span is shrinking (I’m not referring to those who have ADD, I’m discussing a societal issue not a medical one). Garry Trudeau made some satire about USA Today presenting news in quick, easily digestible sound bites. News stories are rarely in-depth unless you are listening news radio. Movies, which commonly ran for three hours when I was a kid, usually top out at two these days.

The akamaireader (you may have noticed we talk a lot), sent me another article about the publishing industry. In this one, it appears that publishers are more pessimistic about future book sales and part of the blame goes to tablets. Why just read a book when you can play Angry Birds? Or watch a movie? Or check your bank balance, look up the sports scores, time your tea steeping, listen to music, you get the idea. Distraction city.

There’s a bunch of us that love our early Kindles and Nooks and Kobos (though I think Kobo,isn’t long for this world) because they do little else but provide us with reading material. I use five functions on my Kindle–the reading of books, the storing of books, the shopping for books, the changing of the font size and the dictionary. I will stipulate that text-to-speech is a great feature, though I don’t use it. I can, if I wish, update Facebook with my favorite quotes from something I’m reading, but I do not feel the need to stop what I’m doing to share a quote with my friends. Neither do I web browse while reading, or listen to music.

There is a certain joy in immersing myself mindfully while doing just one thing, whether it is meditating (which I need more practice at), reading, cooking, making love. Being THERE, totally in the moment, it’s just beautiful. I think the world would be a better place if we stopped trying to be everywhere at once and slowed down and enjoyed the moment (especially me).

So I don’t want to be distracted by Angry Birds. I’ll play it later on my phone.


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Filed under about me, books, reading

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